Archive for August 16th, 2010

Choose an Irish Writer, any Irish Writer

16 August 2010

By Christina Morin

I mentioned in my recommendations for August having read and been thoroughly dismayed by a recent Irish Times article, ‘If ever you go to Dublin town’. In it, Rosita Boland reports that Dublin ‘might be a Unesco City of Literature with a rich literary history to be proud of’, but Irish visitors, locals, and tourists alike all seem a bit uninterested and uninformed about this history. One Texan tourist calling herself ‘just a clueless American’, for instance, said that she couldn’t actually name ‘any writers or books from Ireland, let alone from Dublin’. Others echoed her response with heart-wrenching regularity.

Boland’s unofficial experiment doesn’t bode well for Dublin’s new status as Unesco City of Literature. Dublin was awarded the designation – one of only four such honours – after a three-year long process headed by Dublin City Council under the auspices of Unesco’s Creative Cities Network. Other cities that already boast the ‘Unesco City of Literature’ title include Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Iowa, but what exactly does this mean for the cities involved? Reporting on Dublin City Council’s bid for ‘city of literature’ status in March 2009, Irish Times writer Charlie Taylor suggested that it all comes down to the tourism industry. As Taylor then wrote, ‘According to estimates, landing the prestigious recognition in 2004 has generated about £2.2m per annum for Edinburgh and an additional £2.1m for the rest of Scotland’. Read more